Sunday, December 20, 2009's been too long.

Well, I continue to thank those who continue to read and support my brother and I in what we're going through in our personal lives now that we're not overseas. Thank you!! It's much appreciated.

So it's been a while since I've posted anything on here. I apologize. However, if you remember some of my previous posts I've mentioned that I was missing the one thing in my life that I just didn't have...a woman that loves me and I that I love. WELL, blame it on Leslie for me not posting anything on here...Leslie is absolutely the woman of my prayers, dreams, wishes, and thoughts. Therefore, the computer, TV, going out, and every other distraction has been REMOVED/REPLACED by Leslie. I absolutely love her! I feel like I sound like my brother in some of his posts... love love love...there's just one way to explain it...she's an answered prayer. Period. We both realize that God has placed us together for a wonderful reason. I honestly believe I will spend the rest of my life with this woman.

SO the past 6 months have been pretty ok. Been working, and enjoying my new love. If you know me, I've been home for about 10 months....and if you know my history and what I like to's about that time. Right now I'm in the hospital hanging out with my grandparents. My mom's mom is the reason we're here. We're playing the waiting game.... it's not fun. I started to go home yesterday afternoon, but I turned around and came back. My family supported me so I could miss 3 three more days of work. What a blessing. It was so hard driving home last night...and finally I turned around. I'm so thankful to have the family I have. The road ahead will not be easy...but we'll make it.

I guess I could sit here and type and type about things that have happened and this and that....I think I'll put some pics up here in a few hours. I'm gonna go have dinner and get my camera. Well, I'm also pretty distracted right now...sitting here in the room with about 6 others in the family...More to come...

Out here,
SGT Wormy

Friday, December 11, 2009

Around the World

You will see how the title is what is it. I will be all over the place on this one. I am willing to bet that I do not finish this tonight, but I am going to try.

I put a comment on my facebook that I was going to delete people if I do not hear from them. The main reason for that was to prove a point. I know that I only did that an hour or so ago, but it goes to show that I was halfway right. Right away I got several comments. I understand that everyone is not online at the same time, I am not that stupid. I am willing to bet that most of you on here have either a facebook or a myspace and possibly even a twitter account. OK, now that we have that established. What percentage of the people that are "friends" have you actually met in person? I know that there are some on mine that I have never met, not seen in over 10 years, or will never see again. For good reason, some of them will stay. It is a great way, and easy way, to stay in contact with high school classmates and know when the next reunion is. Better than an outdated mailing list or phone roster. I know that with the military you will be moving every few years, and at times to another country. Not to mention phone number changes. OK, the rest of the people on there? The hotty you found on a friend's list. The person that you met in an airport? The one that you hope to meet one day but know you won't? Why are they there? Do they really care what you are up to? 500 friends on your list? Are you serious? Is it all a numbers game for you? For that reason, I am cleaning house.

Buck. My wonderful dog. My backup alarm clock. My personal stink bomb. The alarm goes off and he knows that it is time for me to get up and let him outside for his potty break. If I hit snooze. He tells me that I know better and will not let me go back to sleep no matter how hard I try. The best is when I am sitting on the couch, enjoying a good night of TV when I hear a weird sound and after it registers what it is, it is too late. I am running for my life. The smell, oh the smell. It is enough to make anyone gag. You threaten to cork that ass, and he thinks I am playing. Then, another surprise. Another blast of warm ass air. I guess it is his way to make sure I am still alive and functioning. Well I am when I kick his ass outside and hope he takes care of business before he comes back. Which is usually in the yard across the street and the house just sold.

Five year old little girls. The smartest. The funniest. The cutest. OK, not the smartest, but they sure make you think. It does not take long for a day to change from good to great when you are in the presence of such an angel. Courtney is my angel. She is my reminder of all the blessings in life I have. She never ceases to amaze me. I love her to death and hope that her mom finally realizes that she love to spend time with me and my family.

Just a few little thoughts i was having. She is getting tired and so am I, so it is time for bed. Expect part 2 soon.

SGT John Strader

Provoking Thought

I have been thinking a lot about my past and the past of some of my friends and even current situations of friends and little bit of mine.

Before you read too far, I am not talking about one person, or to one person. I am talking about everyone, including myself, and to everyone.

You know we go through life with friends and family, and even ourselves, that come to us for advice, or just vent to us about a relationship or situation that is in front of them. It is strange to me that some of the same people would have told me what I tell them. Get out if you are not happy. Why would you put yourself in a situation where you are not happy? Why would you settle for something just because it is comfortable, not happy. Why not realize that although you will suffer a little and be unhappy for a period of time, think about the end result. A happy life in the end and not just going through the motions. I have settled in the past, and I was miserable. I know people that are settling now, because of age, kids, or whatever the reason. There is no reason for that. I have learned in the last year so many things. I have learned more than can expressed here in a short blog or a long blog that would keep attention long enough to get the point across.

I have talked to friends and others that are in situations they want out of. Or they are now with some one who is not who they thought they were. Look at my example: Tessa took me for a ride that I was not expecting. Now she is taking another for a ride. Not to trash some one on here, but blogs are for opinions. Lets say that you meet some one that has been married and divorced twice in a year, wouldn't that throw a red flag up or cause some big neon signs to come on telling you to wake the hell up and look at what you are doing? Just wondering.

OK, got that out of the way. Here we are in a life where the economy is going to hell. Everything is about who is better than the other. What celebrity is sleeping with who. Well, there is one thing in our own lives that we can control. Our happiness. You need to find it. I am not a believer in divorce, weird for some one who is divorced twice to say that. There are times when it does make sense, although you pledged and swore in front of God and family that you would be there in sickness and health. I have never heard anyone say, "until I am unhappy, then I am gone." Since when is that part of the vows. I know that I just said if you are unhappy, make some changes. Well, if you were unhappy and got married, it is time to make the changes in the marriage to find the happiness that you need. Once again, advice from some one who has two failed marriages. How ironic.

One of the main issues that I have experienced and seen friends go through is lack of communication. If you are not able to talk about everything from the dog farting and making you sick, to the world, then you are not with a friend. If you are in a relationship with some one, they need to be a friend.

Why am I talking about this? Well, I have talked to several friends and people recently that have learned from mistakes and these are some of the things they have learned. I was going to go on and on about this, but I decided suddenly in the last paragraph I was not going to. The main reason, we learn from our mistakes and continue to make the same ones over and over again. I know that if I cannot pass a PT test for the army and I am overweight, I will not be able to get promoted and will not be able to reenlist. Well, I always let myself get out of shape and overweight. Then I have work extra hard to make up for it. Once again, there is another lesson in life that I have learned.

I wanted to go on and on and hopefully open some one's eyes. Maybe with what little I said, some one will open their eyes. Hopefully.

SGT John Strader

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas and Those Taking Advantage

That time of the year is upon us. It is time to give and not want to receive. I have a lot to say on this one and I might be all over the place, but you should expect that from me.

Lets start with an update on the situation with Courtney and Christina. I talked to Christina yesterday about me getting more time with Courtney and we think we can come to an agreement without mediation and court. Lets hope that is true. We talked about it a few times yesterday and it appears we are getting somewhere. We will find out when the attorneys talk. To add to that, it is strange how some one can walk out on you, Tessa, and tell you that they never want to see or hear from you again, but they are calling your first ex wife and telling them to read the blog. Tessa wanted to make sure that Christina saw the blog "Confession Time". Well, if I was worried about it being known, I would not have posted it. I posted it hoping to give courage to those out there that were/are like how I was. Plus, if you leave some one and don't want anything to do with them, why are you still reading their blog? That turned into a conversation with Christina about how my life has changed and how I am not the same person she married and knew a few years ago. I am sure she is not either. People change with time and the things that happen to them.

With all that said, on to my Christmas this year. I decided that other than Courtney, I am spending my money to help some one this year that needs it. I said some thing about this a while back and the responses are great. I never expected so many people to reply. I am glad and excited, now I need to make it happen soon. I think that mom has the right idea and the right person for me. I have already put some people in contact with those that need help and glad I could help some one this year. I hope the ideas of people that need help still come in. I can always pass them on to some one else that can help.

OK, now the part that is really kicking me in the butt. Christina and her mom informed me that Courtney is wanting the infamous Zhu Zhu pet for Christmas, along with every other kid in the world. Well, I can understand standing in line and getting ONE or TWO for your kids. I also respect people need to make money, but the hell are you cleaning off the shelves of these toys that are for KIDS just to jack the price up on Craigslist and eBay? $50 and $60 for an $8 toy is stupid and out of this world. I know that people want to make that buck to pay a bill, but remember, when you are doing that you are keeping toys out of kids hands that really want them. When a family is struggling to pay bills but want to give a kid a good Christmas, why are keeping them from affording a toy their kid wants. I looked on eBay for them and was shocked that people are charging $15-$30 for shipping after you pay $50 for the $8 toy. That shipping is stupid and insane seeing that you mail one in a flat rate box at the post office for less than $7. You say that you want to recoup some of your cost. Have you ever heard of the cost of doing business? You are making a $42 dollar profit just on the base price, before you include shipping. Why do you need to make a profit on shipping? Are you that greedy and heartless? The few times I have sold on eBay, I did free shipping. You need to realize what you are doing to our children. Some of work crazy hours and days were not able to go the craziest shopping day of the year. I fell victim to the price gauging on these toys because my daughter wants one. That means that will probably be the only thing she gets this year. If you are one of these people who are making such a profit, I am sorry you are like that. Oh, and I bet you feel good too knowing that you spent all that money and now there is a health concern with them. I hope the price bottoms out on them and lose money. I am not usually like this, but it really bothers me. I have several friends and family who have been looking high and low for them only to find out the only place to get them is eBay and Craigslist.

To everyone, Merry Christmas and God bless you and your family!!!

SGT John Strader

Deer Hunting and Thanksgiving

I have been trying to get on here while at work so I can update you all on the hunting trip to WV for Thanksgiving. To say the least, it was a blast and it was great to see some family.

I left here around midnight on Fri night/Sat morning and go to WV like I had predicted, in time for breakfast. The trip there was exciting, like all my road trips. I loaded down the truck with all my gear and the 120 pounds of hamburger that my family needed to add to the deer when it is ground up.

About an hour into my trip I noticed a camper with a trailer pulled over on the opposite side of the road. So, being the person I am, I went up the road and turned around and came back. For an hour we tried to put a larger trailer that had a blow out on a smaller trailer. We finally realized the smaller trailer was not going to handle it and we moved the gear to the smaller trailer, including a 17foot john boat. I never realized how heavy those things were.

So right off the bat I was an hour behind, but who cares, it is vacation afterall and there were no deadlines to meet. A few more hours up the road there was a very large buck in the middle of the road that was having a hard time walking. It appeared to have a broken leg and was walking in the middle of the road. I almost hit it, which woke me up and scared the crap out of me. I was not too sure where I was, or even what state I was in at the time, and did not care. I was just hoping that they had the same laws as Tennessee regarding roadkill. If you call it in, you can take it home. Well, this buck had a nice rack and look healthy other than the broken leg. I called it in, drove up the road and turned around once again. I got out looking for him once I got back to where he was and could not find him or signs of him, so I continued on my journey.

I arrived at the house in WV around 9am worn out and ready for a nap. We ate breakfast and i got my nap in.

Once I woke up, dad and I went up on the hill to place my treestand. We found a good spot, so we thought, and headed back to the house. We sat around the rest of the afternoon and waited for people to start showing up and watched some college football. Sun morning rolled around and we sat around discussing our plans for Mon morning while more family started arriving. Jeremy finally got there late afternoon. Finally everyone was there. We had a great dinner and all headed to bed early hoping we could sleep. The anticipation was killing us and we were all excited, no matter how little or how much we showed it.

Monday morning finally rolled around we were up, ate our breakfast of fried eggs, biscuits, and whatever meat we had that morning. For me it was a glass of milk to hold me over. By 530 about all of us were on the way to our stands waiting to see who would shoot first. Well, it wasn't me, Jeremy or Dad. Once the sun came up and we could see, you could hear the movement all around. Jeremy and I were pretty close, as was dad, although he was on the other side of the creek from us. It wasn't long that I realized I had faced my tree stand in the wrong direction. I had a few doe walk behind me and I could not get turned around to get a good shot and let them walk on to Jeremy thinking he was take one. We could both hear them between us, but could not see them. Then Jeremy came on the radio immediately after a shot was fired up the mountain from us and very close. He could see some one coming on to our property. He jumped out of the stand and headed towards them. To spare you all the drama, and make it short, some one shot a buck that was on the line and came onto our property. While Jeremy was running them off the property, the buck went back to the other side and the guy was able to claim his deer.

We never saw the deer again after that. Or any other deer the rest of the day. That afternoon we heard dad shoot. Dad called me and told me he shot one but could not find it. I went down to help him and we never found it.

Monday night we were all back the house with 2 deer killed and hanging in the smoke house cooling off. We all sat and enjoyed a nice dinner and told the stories of the day. We discussed our game plans for Tuesday. Once again, we were in bed early waiting for the second day and hoping for more luck.

Tuesday morning was like Monday. Up early, breakfast and hike up the mountain. Once again me and Jeremy could hear some deer between us on the hill, but could not see them. They headed down the hill towards dad and we let him know. It was not long after that we heard a shot. Then another. A few minutes later two more shots. We called dad on the radio and he told us he got two. Once again, dad shoots his two at the same time. Must be nice.

Come to find out, he shot a doe and when he was walking over to her, a spike buck was standing there looking at dad, so he shot that one too. This time we did not have to help him. He went and got the tractor, and took them to the house. Jeremy let a couple doe walk that day and one came over to me late that evening. I could not get a shot, and it was too small for me to shoot. Once again, me and Jeremy go home empty handed.

Wed morning was the same. Eat and hike. This time it was cooler and a little rainy. Everyone already had a deer except me and Jeremy. Around lunch time, Jeremy decided he was going to stalk a little and I was moving to Dad's stand. It was not long after that Jeremy shot. This time he did not shot 7 or 8 times like usual so I was concerned it was not Jeremy. But it was. He shot a very small doe. When I say small, my dog Buck is bigger. He took it to the house and returned a little later. He was stalking again and I was in dad's stand waiting. It was about the time for the deer to come past dad's stand and I heard Jeremy shoot again. This time he shot a big doe. At the same time, the deer were finally in front of dad's stand. It was my turn. This time we all had a deer. I ended up with one of dad's deer to take home.

I sat at home all day on Sat and Sun cleaning deer and packaging it. I now have several pounds of deer burger and some deer steaks in the freezer.

There was a lot more that happened on this trip. Like Buck going crazy every time he saw a deer and wanting to chase them. We let him one day and thought he would never come back. He was loving it.

We had a great time and I was blessed with getting to spend some great time with family in WV while mom was at home with Courtney. I was not able to make it to Tennessee to see Courtney like I had thought I would be able too. But this weekend I will be seeing her. I cannot wait either.

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving and I am sorry this was delayed.

I am going to go ahead and write another one regarding Christmas and some of the things that are going on the world with that.

SGT John Strader

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Times Have Changed

Remember when you were little and mom and dad taught you to open the door for those coming and going? Whether it is a store or your house. Remember how you saw an elderly loading or unloading a car and mom and dad taught you it was polite and correct to offer help? Remember when those people said thank you? How about last when you tried the same? Or did you even make the effort? When you made that effort, was it welcomed with a thanks or rolled eyes and a snarl?

Kinda busts my ass that I can offer help to some one, whether they need it or not and and get a dirty look. I remember days when you respected elders and helped them, no matter what you were doing. Now days you have to hope that you do not get sprayed with and hope for the polite no thank you. I offered to help some one this morning load their groceries in their car. I walked up and said "let me get that for ya". I got a rude and impolite, "I got it. I'm not crippled." I was being me and trying to do the nice thing and there was an attempt to insult me.

I was taught better than that. For example, I had the privilege to hunt at Sonya's mom's house. I was also welcomed to stay there and have dinner and sleep there so I would not have to drive in the mornings. I offered to fix a few things around her house and helped out with what I could. I could have done more, but it is better than doing nothing.

I wonder how parents today were raised to treat others with respect and forgot to pass it on to their children. My mom would have my ass if she knew I was disrespectful to anyone. Let alone my parents. I get tired of seeing kids in the store running the family. My mom would have, and still would, bust my 30 year old ass. Right there in front of God and everyone. And trust me when I say that I teach Courtney respect. She is learning it more from me than anyone. I have to believe that because of how she used to act in front of me. She knows that I will pass on what and how my parents taught me.

Why is it so hard for a parent to discipline? It isn't hard. Who cares if some one thinks that spanking is wrong. Your parents did it and look at you. OK, not all of you. There were days that no one cared what cartoon you watch, what video game you played, how you played outside or if you got your ass busted on a regular basis. I know that technology has changed since then, but we grew up fine watching GI Joe and He-Man and all the other violent cartoons. We didn't think we could shoot thousands of real bullets and no one get hurt. We never thought that we could drop an anvil on our brother, flatten him, and try to blow him up with an air compressor. I am tired of society blaming violence and our problems on TV and video games. How about education our kids with good teachers instead of teachers giving those private sex ed lessons. How about we have parents that are active in their kids lives and actually be parents. Stop letting them hide in a room all weekend and do something they want to do as a family. That doesn't mean if they say they don't want to go, don't. That means drag their crying little, embarrassed butt along and make them have fun. My parents did it all the time, and still try too. Most of our friends think that we have cool parents cause they are always involved to this day.

I am lucky to have a family calls just to call every day when I am siting down to a hot meal that is cold when I get off the phone. I am lucky to have parents that come to visit. I am lucky to have parents that can be a pain in the rear and even annoying at times. I will never tell them they are a pain or annoying when they are, because they raised me better. OK, mom I did yell that time you were annoying us all playing in the floor with Courtney, but we couldn't take it anymore.

So, shut off the babysitter, I mean TV, and do something with your kid. Even if it is just talk. Or pick up the phone and call and annoy that kid that moved out a long time ago. I know you are call as soon as you read this mom so I won't answer. OK, I will because it is my mom.

Stop blaming others for your kid's problems. You know how your mom and dad raised you. If worked, why are you afraid to do it. Afraid what your friends will think. I do believe that if you have kids, you are out of high school by now. Who cares what they think. It is your child. Be a parent.

Wow, I went from some rude lady to raising kids. I know that I do not see my daughter enough, but when I do, I cherish every moment and I am fighting to get more time. And spending money I don't have to make sure I am with her more.

SGT John Strader

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Military Pay

I have been spending a lot of time on reading some forums and learning things about hunting. I came across this off topic post this morning and thought that I would share it.


AMEN! God Bless this Airman!!!

Just to set the record straight, this Cindy Williams is not the one from Laverne and Shirley. Check out Snopes to understand who she is.

Military Pay

This is an Airman's response to Cindy Williams' editorial piece in the Washington Times about MILITARY PAY, it should be printed in all newspapers across America

Ms. Cindy Williams wrote a piece for the Washington Times, denouncing the pay raise(s) coming service members' way this year citing that she stated 13% wage increase was more than they deserve.

A young airman from Hill AFB responds to her article below. He ought to get a bonus for this.

"Ms Williams: I just had the pleasure of reading your column, "Our GIs earn enough" and I am a bit confused. Frankly, I'm wondering where this vaunted overpayment is going, because as far as I can tell, it disappears every month between DFAS (The Defense Finance and Accounting Service) and my bank account. Checking my latest earnings statement I see that I make $1,117.80 before taxes per month. After taxes, I take home $874.20. When I run that through the calculator, I come up with an annual salary of $13,413...60 before taxes, and $10,490.40, after.

I work in the Air Force Network Control Center where I am part of the team responsible for a 5,000 host computer network I am involved with infrastructure segments, specifically with Cisco Systems equipment. A quick check under jobs For Network Technicians in the Washington , D.C.. area reveals a position in my career field, requiring three years experience with my job. Amazingly, this job does NOT pay $13,413.60 a year. No, this job is being offered at $70,000 to $80,000 per annum...........

I'm sure you can draw the obvious conclusions.

Given the tenor of your column, I would assume that you NEVER had the pleasure of serving your country in her armed forces. Before you take it upon yourself to once more castigate congressional and DOD leadership for attempting to get the families in the military's lowest pay brackets off of WIC and food stamps, I suggest that you join a group of deploying soldiers headed for AFGHANISTAN ; I leave the choice of service branch up to you. Whatever choice you make, though, opt for the SIX month rotation: it will guarantee you the longest possible time away from your family and friends, thus giving you full "deployment experience."

As your group prepares to board the plane, make sure to note the spouses and children who are saying good-bye to their loved ones. Also take care to note that several families are still unsure of how they'll be able to make ends meet while the primary breadwinner is gone obviously they've been squandering the "vast" piles of cash the government has been giving them.

Try to deploy over a major holiday; Christmas and Thanksgiving are perennial favorites. And when you're actually over there, sitting in a foxhole, shivering against the cold desert night and the flight sergeant tells you that there aren't enough people on shift to relieve you for chow, remember this: trade whatever MRE (meal-ready- to-eat) you manage to get for the tuna noodle casserole or cheese tortellini, and add Tabasco to everything. This gives some flavor.

Talk to your loved ones as often as you are permitted; it won't nearly be long enough or often enough, but take what you can get and be thankful for it. You may have picked up on the fact that I disagree with most of the points you present in your op ed piece.

But, tomorrow from KABUL , I will defend to the death your right to say it.

You see, I am an American fighting man, a guarantor of your First Amendment rights and every other right you cherish. On a daily basis, my brother and sister soldiers worldwide ensure that you and people like you can thumb your collective noses at us, all on a salary that is nothing short of pitiful and under conditions that would make most people cringe. We hemorrhage our best and brightest into the private sector because we can't offer the stability and pay of civilian companies.

And you, Ms. Williams, have the gall to say that we make more than we deserve?

A1C Michael Bragg Hill AFB AFNCC

In my own experience I have come across several people in my career that have no respect for the military, especially those that are fathers or are not a gun toting infantryman. I would like to educate you a little on the military.

First of all, when a unit/division deploys, it is not only the ground pounding grunts that go. Everyone that makes the operation work goes. That means even the mailman (which was my first deployment), the cook, the admin (my second deployment), supply, EVERYONE goes. With out the supply there, how are the infantrymen getting bullets? Without the truck drivers, HOW are the bullets getting there? Without the cook, how are they fed so they have strength to fight? Without the mailman how are they getting letters from home? Without the admin how are they getting paid, getting awards, getting promoted, getting life insurance? Without admin to keep files up to date how are we supposed to know who to contact if they are hurt, or God forbid, killed?

So you see, it takes a lot of people to run a military branch, not to mention a war. I only mentioned a very small part of a huge picture. I understand that there are those that are getting shot at and blown up, but we are all serving the purpose. I have the utmost respect for the men on the front lines. I know that I have the comfort of an office when I am deployed and have nothing to complain about, but we are all still away from family. We are all confined to a very small area for several months at a time. We don't have the luxury to drive across the state and go see family or friends. We walk down the road and see a friend and never leave an area not much bigger than a city block for a year. Some of us are lucky and have 2 city blocks to wonder around. When I say city block, I am not talking nice big building. I am talking crappy little huts.

I have been told I am a horrible father for being willing to leave my daughter and go overseas. A good father never does that. Well, I want to keep this a safe and wonderful country for that little angel.

So, if you do not respect your servicemen and women, keep your mouth shut or I am sure that some one will help you keep it shut!!

The article that I post is regarding pay. I bet that you did not know that there are certain jobs in the military that people only do for the initial enlistment and then find out they can makes 2 and 3 times the amount of money on the outside. We are all paid the same at the same rank no matter what job we have. So, a cook on the outside might make $15,000 to $20,000 a year on the outside and a computer tech can make over $50,000 a year on the outside, but in the army, we all make the same. If you want to complain that your tax dollars are paying too much for your military, remember, there are those that are like me that can get out and make a lot more, but choose to stay and serve our country. Thank them, not complain.

I am done ranting over this for now. It really hit me and made me think that recently I was laughed at by some one you all know well (Christina and her boyfriend) because I am admin in the army. Well, at least I stood up to serve and I am proud of what I do. Try explaining to some one that shallow that it serves a purpose. To people like that, if you are not shooting or being shot at, you are nothing. Well, in my eyes, we are.

God Bless you all that support us!!!!

SGT John Strader

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Society Today

I was watching the news the other day and people were complaining that there is a DirectTV commercial with David Spade and Chris Farley. The problem to some people is that Farley is dead and they are upset that they are using a piece out of Tommy Boy for the spot. It is the scene in the hotel where Farley puts on Spade's jacket and is doing the big man in a little jacket scene. That is one of the funniest parts of the movie and and one of my favorites. I have to agree with Spade when he says that believes that Farley would love the commercial. People will find anything to complain about.

I was reading some forums on yesterday and some one is complaining that with the technology today that hunting is too easy. He stated that with today's technology that he can get his deer and be out of the woods by 645 in the morning. Why in the world would you complain about that while you are using the technology that is out there? He stated that he wished that the technology did not exist because it is taking away from the challenge and the sport. Well, why is he using it then? That makes no sense to me. I talked to a guy yesterday and he has scouted, photoed, and seen a buck in a certain area several times. He has been after this monster buck all year. He has used what he knows, technology and good old smarts and still has not gotten the trophy buck he is after. I also know of people that have used the trail cams and photoed trophy deer and set up where they are and still have not seen or gotten the buck they are after. Even with all the technology that is out there, it is still a challenge to get the trophy. I have set up on several paths that I know are being used daily by deer. I will go on one day, mess up the tracks, stomp around and then the next day there are several new tracks and deer prints in my boot prints. But I am not mad that I am not seeing them. I know that I am there at the wrong time of the day. Maybe I need to move on down the path further cause I am setting up where they are in the middle of the night. No matter what technology is out there, there is still a challenge to everything.

Last night when I was hunting, it was almost sunset and I heard a shot. I had given up and headed back to the truck. By the time I was there, I noticed that all other hunters around me had started leaving, except one. He was parked in the direction of the shot I heard, so I waited for a while on him to come out, and a couple other guys come out in the same area. I talked to them and they heard the shot and saw the deer. We waited on the guy to come out and talked to him. He was sure that he had hit the deer but could not find it. We decided that the four of us would go look. By now, it was dark, although we had a full moon out. We headed back into the woods and looked for over an hour trying to help this Marine find his deer, to no luck. This goes to show that there is a friendship that can bond hunters together. No one cares where you are from, just that you are a hunting brother. You can be on the side of the road after a hunt and the majority of vehicles will stop and talk to you asking what you saw, where you were, and how your hunt was. There is no other place to find a brotherhood like this. I actually find a new hunting buddy for back home just by making a call to pay a bill. I should be hunting with my new hunting buddy this weekend. He wants to learn a few things and has plenty of land at his disposal and we are going to check it out and see what we can find.

I'm all over on this post, for one reason is that I started this at 9am and it is almost noon now. I am actually having to work today!!

I have been thinking about that Jeremy has been saying regarding possessions. It is weird when you think about it. OK, you go to the store and you want and MP3 player to listen to while you are at the gym, walking, or whatever reason. What is the first thing you think when you think MP3 player? iPOD. Who doesn't? It is all that you think about. Who thinks about the Sony that is half the price and just as good or better? What about those that get the tech magazines each month and see something new they have to have that costs twice as much as something that is close, but not quite as good? I used to be very guilty of this. I was hardcore into computers and computer gaming two years ago. Now, if it works, who cares. I would spend thousands of dollars each year just trying to keep up, when it was not needed. Your thing might not be computers, but is it car? TV? Clothes? Why do you need a $30 t-shirt when the one that does not have that logo on it covers you the same, and serves the same purpose? Don't get me wrong, I will not wear some designs or colors, but I don't care who made it. As long as I like it, that is all I care about.

We all have our little quirks that make us happy and make us who we are. Some of us are still figuring out who we are. Some of us will be doing it for years to come. Me, for example. I have always enjoyed hunting but I married two women that did not like it and I did not have time for me and to make me happy. Last night I could have, and should have, went home and cleaned the house, but I did what made me happy and I went hunting for a few hours. I am learning that the more I spend outside doing what I want, the happier I am. I have been asked several time recently if I have dated since Tessa left or if I have tried. Well, I did date one person, Sonya. It was great while it lasted, but there were some differences and other issues we needed to work out. I have found comfort in discovering me and being me right now. It is not that I would not date, but I am not going to settle or go out looking for it. People are enjoying me being me. I am not going to stop being who I am and doing what I love for some one, other than Courtney. I get tired of hearing other hunters say they cannot hunt very often cause of a spouse. I don't understand that if a spouse wants someone to be happy, why not let them do what they love and what brings joy to them. I have had chances and opportunities to go on dates and meet new people, but I am too busy keeping me happy to worry about keeping another happy. I will tell you now that the next person I am with will either love it or hate that I have things I want to do with my time. I am me and not who you want to transform me into.

People ask me if I am going to start dating or looking after hunting season. Well, I hate to break their heart, hunting season never ends. There is always something out there to hunt. I am going to try my hand at turkey hunting for the first time this year. I am waiting until after deer season, but I am getting ready. I have most of what I need to go. And it is not starting to date. I am always dating even if I don't have a date. Why should I sit at home or go out looking when I can spend that time being happy instead of frustrated that I am not seeing anyone? Life is too short not to enjoy yourself. Don't get me wrong, I would love to share my time with some one, but why should I sweat it? I was not looking for Christina when she fell in my lap.

I know that I have been all over the place on this post and it is long. I hope that everyone that logs on takes the time to read it all. I have a lot to say about some things that I have been thinking about. I don't want to only tell you about hunting and boring you to death with all of that.

One more thing. Almost everyday I see the same people at the gas station and at the gates coming onto Fort Campbell. They always ask how I am and I tell them awesome, great, or whatever comes to mind. Every day is a great day if you let it be. There is no reason to have a bad day. No matter what has happened, find something positive in it. You get a flat tire, you just got a little workout changing it. Or you got delayed just enough to your destination that you heard your favorite song on the radio and was singing at the top of your lungs. Let the little things make you happy, not bring you down. It is too easy. Once again, I will mention "You Are What You Think" by David Stoop. Maybe if I mention it enough, you go out and find it and actually read it.

I hope that this finds everyone is having a great day!!!

SGT John Strader

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where's My Daddy?

Hello to all of those who continue to show your support to my brother and I! I greatly appreciate it! WE greatly appreciate it.

Before I get to the main part of the post...I'll fill you in on what's been up in my life lately....God has been showing himself to me more and more lately. It's been really wonderful! I've been dating an incredible woman! We're doing really well. She's amazing! Work is going ok. OK at best I guess. I'm getting geared up and getting ready for hunting season. I got a muzzleloader so I could hunt a little earlier and hopefully get a jump on a big buck. Overall, life's going pretty well, better now that I've got Leslie, my girlfriend. Enough about that...I'm kinda drawing a blank here...I thought I was gonna fill you in on some cool stuff... but, I guess that's all I got.

Now, I don't normally warn or say this before a post that I think might upset someone...however...I'm gonna do my best to put some good thought into the next part of this post. I'm going to do my best to make you cry. Point blank. SO, if you're not in the mood, not by yourself, not in a spot that you can get a little emotional... come back when you are. Come back when it's a better time....

Where's my daddy?

This was dropped into me today as I was getting ready for work. I'm not sure why, well maybe I do know why. I got to thinking about children who don't have a father in thier life. Children that by no choice of thier own, wonder each day, where's my daddy? But then there's some that don't see daddy because daddy doesn't choose to see them...Why? Why would you leave your little girl asking "where's my daddy?" Why would you choose to do something selfish instead of being there for your little girl? She'll only be little once. She'll only be 5 one time. She'll only be 6 one time. Picture her sitting in the car on the way home when someone else picks her up, and that's when it starts...where's my daddy? Later as she gets to the house...where's my daddy? It's been two weeks since I've seen him last...where's my daddy? My time with daddy is usually really short and I miss him...where's my daddy? Daddy? Don't you miss me? Don't you wanna look into my beautiful eyes and tell me you missed me too? I just can't wait to tell you I love you and give you a big hug. Why aren't you here? Did I do something wrong? Where's my daddy? I miss you daddy. Did I not give you enough hugs last time I saw you to make you want to rush back to me? How come you're not here? Daddy it's Halloween and I got this little cowgirl outfit to wear and get candy... where's my daddy? Who's gonna hold my hand when we go trick-or-treating? I'm only gonna be little for a short while longer...and the cute outfits will turn into prom dresses and don't you wanna see me in my cowgirl outfit before it's too late and outgrow it? Where's my daddy? And when we get home tonight, who am I gonna sleep with? I need you close daddy so the boogy man won't get me...afterall, it is Halloween. I need you here to keep me safe daddy. I am so excited to get to spend a couple days with you...what's happening that you couldn't come see me? What's more important than me daddy? Tell your mean ol boss that you've got a beautiful princess to see and his work can wait till Monday... where's my daddy? Daddy, you do wanna see me right? I miss you. I love you daddy. Where's my daddy? Oh and daddy my last soccer game is tommorrow. I'm gonna run so fast and play so hard just so you will be proud of me and watch me win. I'm so excited that you'll be there! Just having you there, I know I'll play good! You are coming right daddy? Maybe one day when I'm older you can show me pictures of when I was little and I played soccer and I did good, and you'll think back on how precious I was and how much fun we had together. I hope I score a goal just for you daddy! I'm gonna do my best just for you! Where's my daddy? Daddy, you are coming right? After the soccer game, maybe we can go back to grandma's house and carve pumpkins! Ya! That sounds like so much fun! But I'll need you there to make sure I don't get hurt with the sharp knife. I just know that's gonna be fun! I love you daddy! And then, after that we can go see the fishes at the store with all the animals. Remember when I used to feed the little deer at the campsite there, that was so much fun. Wow daddy, I'm growing so fast! There's so much I wanna do with you daddy, but we never seem to have enough time to play bunches. It's ok though, at least I get to see you for a little while. I like it when you comb my hair all pretty. Daddy I miss you. Can you ask mommy if I can come see you sooner next time? And oh ya! can we finish making those apple pies with grandma? Last time we ran out of time too...but it was still ok, I got to see you daddy! I bet you just can't wait to come see me. I just know that you won't let anything or anyone keep you away from your only little girl daddy. Daddy, what if something happens and I don't see you anymore? What if I grow up wondering what was so important that kept you away....I know for a while you were in the mountains fighting the bad guys, but you're back now...I can't wait to see you daddy! I love you daddy. I miss you daddy. I can't wait to see you....grandma, where's my daddy? Pa, where's my daddy? I love you daddy! I'm sorry daddy, I shouldn't worry like this, I know you're coming, I just know it.

I'm not sure if you've read any of my past blogs and right now I'm not sure how much I've shared on here about what I have and don't have. I have a lot of "stuff". I have a lot of "toys". I have a lot of "nice things". I have a "nice house". I have a lot of material "things". Material things. The one thing I don't have is the one thing I have wanted the most for so long. You can't buy it. You can't put it on a credit card. You won't find it at Wal-Mart. However, the one thing I long for so badly, so many have...yet they choose to put it to the side like it's not important. Some take it for granted like it will be here we'll be here forever. The one thing that should be, and could be the most amazing thing each one of us will ever experience. But, some choose. Choose. Choose to put it aside like it doesn't matter. They choose to place other things first. They choose to do things of the world and selfeshly replace the most amazing thing with a quick fix of "happiness". Which, in the end, in my opinion, you miss out and only find yourself wishing you had done things a little differently. The one thing I don't have, the love of a child. Small, innocent eyes looking to me like I'm superman and I can take on anything. A small hand to reach out to me as we walk across the parking lot into the grocery store. The innocents of a child's love. The heart warming, heart breaking, amazing, unexplainable love of a miracle sent from God making me the happiest man on this place we call earth. Beautiful eyes that look to me for answers, safety, shelter, and security from the big world around them. There's a lot of things in this world that you do, have, buy, and possess that will still in the end leave you empty and wanting more. But love. Love. And in this case specifically the love of a child. Someone calling me daddy. A man should need no more. I just can't imagine the feeling a father must have when their child looks up and says, "I love you daddy." And yet, some...some CHOOSE not to be a part of this. I honestly do not think I'll ever understand it.

Till next time,
SGT Wormy

Monday, October 26, 2009

Terrible Three

Well, what a weekend. Of course you know I went hunting, so here is the story of that and how bad things come in threes and you have to laugh at it all to keep smiling. Don't let anything bring you down, no matter what.

Like usual, I went to bed VERY early on Friday night and got up at 430am thinking it was plenty early enough to get the spot that I wanted. I got to the hunting area and NINE guys beat me to where I wanted to be. So, I drove to the other side of the area and took that spot. Of course on the way there were deer everywhere on the side of the road and I knew that was good sign. I got in the stand a little later than I wanted, but no one's fault but my own. It was right at day break I started hearing the cracks of shotguns and muzzleloaders, some very close to me. That meant I must be in a decent area, but will any of them get past the other hunters to me? Well, it was several hours later, about 430pm, and I turned around and could see two does just waiting on me to put a shot in them. One was considerably larger than the other and I had my eyes on her. I let them closer, closer and then it looked at though they might go out of site and move on so that meant it was time to take a shot.

My heart racing. Adrenaline flowing. Heart pounding out of my chest (a feeling every hunter knows and loves it) like a cartoon!! I lined up a shot. POW!!!! The smoke cleared and they both were still standing. They never moved!! They turned and looked the oposite direction of my location then went back to eating. I flattened against the tree and as quietly as possible, I reloaded. They never saw me or heard me for that matter. I turned around and lined up another shot. This time aiming a little lower and a little faster because they were starting move on out of site. POW!!! This time they took off running. I got out of the tree as fast possible. I looked for blood and NOTHING!!! How did I miss?? I never miss!!! I tracked them for a while and never a sign of them again or any blood. How could this be? Did my scope get off somehow?

I gathered my stuff in extreme frustration, ran to the truck and drove as fast as I could to the rifle range on post to check my rifle. Guess what!!! I was right on the money. Perfect shot. Not off at all. So what happened? Who knows, but I will not miss again!!!

That was the first of three bads for the weekend. On to Saturday morning. I get up 30 minutes early and get ready to take off for hunting. This time I am the first out and I get the spot I wanted the day prior. I pull over and park, and then my truck tells me I have low tire pressure. Could not wonder why, but I get out and look. PPPPPSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! CRAP!!! I have a serious leak in my tire!! I grab the flashlight and start looking, and sure enough there is a ROCK in my tire. Not on the side, but straight through the tread. What the heck can go wrong now? Then I remember bad things come in threes. That was not going to bring me down at all. I move the truck, change the tire and park again where I was. A very nice guy about my age showed up about that time and we discussed where we would hunt and decided to hunt close to each other, but not as close as we ended up.

Well, about 9am it hit me. Get the heck out of the tree or crap my pants. Yes I am telling a story about pooping my pants. I tried to get my tree stand and the bottom was stuck on a branch and no matter how I tried, I could not get it down. I was running out of time and decided it was time to jump. I unhooked the safety harness and swung out of the stand and fell a few feet to the ground. Grabbed the TP and made for a tree. Just as I finished I look up and see the guy that I was talking to early. He was VERY close and laughing at me. He watched the whole ordeal of me trying to get out of the tree. He could there was a problem and once he discovered what it was, he could not stop laughing. Neither could I. Afterall, find humor in everything!!

We stood there and talked for a second and decided to scope out the area. We walked down the firebreak and saw another hunter in the distance and we all gave the "where the hell are they" arms up in the air at the same time. We kept walking and found some very fresh tracks on the edge of a field and I decided I was setting up shop on the trail. I go back and get my stuff, set up and wait. And wait. And wait. Then, I hear something close, but there is no way it is a deer because I would be able to see it at that distance. I figured a squirrel, but it didn't sound right. Then it let out a noise and I knew it was no squirrel. A big coon come walking by. He walked up close to my bag, smelled around and must have caught whiff of my pee and left. I didn't pee on my bag before you think that. I forgot my pee bottle and was having to just pee right out of the stand.

I set a time that I was done hunting, because if you remember I had a tire to fix and a house to clean. Plus I have only eaten one meal in two days and it was taking its toll on me. No fat jokes. I know I need to lose a few. So, I stand up and look around, listen very carefully. Look some more and as quietly as possible, I start down the tree. I get down and head down the trail to where I could not see that well and low and behold, right out of sight from my stand a deer took a big steamy crap. And I mean it was still steaming!! What the crap? Well, that is how it goes. Plus at that distance, I would not have taken the shot anyway. You might think that was the third in the threes. Never. That is part of hunting. I don't consider that a bad one. Just bad luck.

Now, you wonder what the third is? Well, on my way home after another day of hunting, I get pulled over on post for speeding. I was not paying attention to my speed and just going. I got a nice speeding ticket. When he brought me the ticket to sign, I started laughing. He was shocked and wondering what was so funny, so I explained my weekend, a lot shorter than here. He asked how in the world could I be laughing. That was simple. I spent two wonderful days in the woods in lovely weather. I had my health, and life is good. I told him to find humor and everything and laugh at and it will be all good. Never let anything bring you down.

To continue that on, I had a friend call me last night and wanted to know if she could stop by after work and of course I told her after she said she was having a horrible day. I was thinking, OK, I had some bad luck this weekend and it will be easy to cheer some one up. She comes over and tell me she thinks her boyfriend in Afghan is going to dump her and she is tore because they were fighting yesterday. After a little while, I had her laughing and understanding that it is easy to let things bring you down, IF you let them. By the end of the night she was doing a lot better. And guess what, I get a text first thing this morning telling me thank you for cheering up and she wanted to know how I stay so positive. I told her it is easy. I also told her that she, along with everyone, should read a book called, "You are What You Think" by David Stoop. You can get this on Amazon for $0.01. It is worth it. I plan buying a few copies and giving them to people who I think will benefit from them. It is a great Christian book and VERY easy to read.

You might wonder the outcome of the tire. Well, it can't be fixed and I have to buy another tire. Wal-Mart and the dealer both cannot fix it. Oh well. Chalk it up to the costs of hunting.

I am headed home this week to visit and do the mediation thing. I have mediation on Wed morning this week and hopefully Christina will finally think about Courtney and not only herself. Courtney always to stay longer and her mom never lets her. Imagine that. Pray that this goes well and we finally work something out and do not end up in court to have a judge make the decision for us.

I hope that everyone has a great week!!

SGT John Strader

Friday, October 23, 2009


It was a hard decision to make a post telling my story about what I have been through. Life is not an easy journey. There are wonderful scenes to behold, there are flat tires, and there are interesting people long the way. I have met so many of you and glad I have. I am thankful for the out pouring support I have received in the few hours since the post. It really encourages me to continue on with sharing those private moments in my life.

After I finished the "Confession" and went home, I thought of other things I could have added to that post. One things I did not tell you was that I flatlined three times. That is my understanding from those that were there. I know that it took me almost a week to get my head working again after all I put myself and those around me through. In addition, Tessa never visited me on time to make sure I was OK. The pills that lowered my blood pressure were the ones that almost did me in. There was nothing they could do other than try to push the meds out my system. It was too late to pump my stomach. My body had already absorbed too much of the medications. There are funny stories to go along with my ordeal. I know that you might wonder how in the world can you find something funny about all this. Well, remember I told you in another post about mom sending me an email about attitude and finding the good or funny in everything, well there was something that was funny. As I started gaining consciousness, I had gas. If you know me, that means I let it out. Evidently it was long and loud. I finished the relief with extra relief in my pants. Evidently it took me a few trips to the bathroom to realize I soiled myself. My parents and I still laugh at the fact that I crapped myself in the hospital and took forever to realize it. It might be gross, but you can always find something funny or good in everything, no matter how bad it is. I can't believe I just told the world I crapped myself with a lot of people around to see it.

After all this was over, I decided it was time to make life a little easier seeing that I was maintaining a new house on my own and I sold my bike, truck and junk in my house that I did not need. Life is at a great spot right now and there is no way that anything or anyone is going to bring me down. Everything in life is happening for a reason. Let life happen and do not worry about it.

SGT John Strader

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Confession Time

This might not be the smartest thing in the world that I have posted, but here it goes.

I am worried that some will judge me and will try to use this against, me although those might use it already know. I will tell you first and foremost, I am happier than I have ever been and my life is GREAT!! There is nothing that will bring me down. I also want you to know this is going to be very hard to write. I am telling it so that it might help some one else out there. I want others to know they are not alone.

As most of you know, I was married to Tessa very fast without knowing her very well. I was very happy and thought I finally had the girl of my dreams. I was wrong and almost paid the ultimate price for it. I am not going to point fingers by giving all the details, but I am going to share a lot.

It started with things going downhill with Tessa and me. I was getting depressed and letting a lot things worry me that should not. Eventually, Tessa cried wolf and it got me sent to a mental health facility in Hopkinsville for ten days in late March. I was released from there good to go. I got out and things just keeping getting worse. A week later, Tessa left me. In the end it was for another soldier that she met only two days prior. It can be denied all they want, but everyone is not as stupid as we look. Trying not to rant on that, but you don't just buy a "friend" a new car.

At the news that she was leaving me, I started to loose control of my thoughts. I was having crazy and random thoughts running through my head that if something were to happen to me she would come back. Boy was I wrong. That was the dumbest thing to ever think.

That night, I was taken to the hospital to be checked and make sure I was OK. Of course I was because she was crying wolf again, but in the end she was right.

I was put on suicide watch, although they trusted me that I was OK, they should never trust some one in that situation. I was left with my car keys and all my belongings. Not good. I do not blame those who made those decisions. I thought I was fine and convinced them I was.

The next morning, Tessa finally called and told me how horrible of a person I am and how terrible of a father I was. Not realizing what she was doing, I did not realize how wrong she was. She told me I, along with others, would be better off if I was dead. The short of the very long, I took two bottles of pills (one was sleeping pills, the other to lower blood pressure) in the parking lot on post. I managed to drive home and make it in the house. The next thing I remember I was sitting on my steps smoking a cigarette and there were police everywhere, along with an ambulance. I remember trying to stand and that was it.

I woke up in the hospital a couple days later with IVs and machines all over the place, and my parents by my side. I could not believe what I had done. My mom kept on and on about Courtney how would some one explain to a four year old that her daddy was gone forever. It really touched me and set some things in motion in my life.

I was then transported to Nashville for recovery and continued care. Come to find out, the anti depressant that Hopkinsville had me was making me worse and making me more suicidal. I was changed meds, sent to therapy for a few months and here I am happier than ever. I realize my mistakes and bad decisions I have made. There is NOTHING in this world that makes it OK or with it to do what I did. I have a family to think about. And I have a God and Country to serve.

I am here at Fort Campbell where the suicide rate is the highest of any US post in the world. The numbers you hear are those that die. You do not hear how many have tried and failed, thankfully. I have met some that got drunk, and drove into buildings and trees to make it look like an accident. Some of those are like me and realize how stupid it was and that there is help out there. No one should look down on some one for admitting they are having problems and need some help. Just last week I knew a friend was having a bad time and I started to talking to them and was seeing some signs that were in me. I got together and talked for hours. Who knows, I might have saved a life that night because I was not judging like their chain of command was. That is a huge problem with suicide at Fort Campbell. Or any where for that matter. People want to judge those that say they need help think they are weak. They are not weak. They are strong for admitting they need and seeking help. Keep that in mind the next time you talk to some one that you know is depressed and feeling down. I was almost was a statistic and will not let some one I know become one.

In my experience, I know that God wanted me here for a reason. I am still seeking that reason and I know that with time, God will show it to me if I let him. I am no angel, but I am good person. I am truly happy, and I have nothing to complain about, and if I do, I can fix it. Nothing is worth the mistakes I made in April.

Like I said, I did my therapy and the doctor decided I did not need it anymore and encouraged me to talk to others about what has happened to me. I am here to tell you, that if you need help, find a friend, find some one and talk to them. My friends come to me on a regular basis seeking help and I give them my time no matter what I am doing. I have even canceled dates among other things to help my friends because I know what it is like.

Pray for our soldiers. Their is not as easy as you think. A friend put it a good way when she said that marriage is no longer an institution, it is a drive thru now. We can walk away from marriage too easily now. The military is hard marriage and lives involved. Pray for them. Pray hard. We all need it.

Once again, thank you to all that have supported us. I hope that this helps one person. If it does, it was worth it. I hope that I am not judged and I am sorry if you feel the need to judge me because of a mistake I have made. We have all made them, some are just greater than others.

SGT John Strader

Family, I am sorry that you did not know and find out this way. Please do not worry. ALL IS GOOD!!!!! See ya deer hunting next month!!!!!

Why Are Titles Hard to Think of??

First of all, thanks for the continued support. It means the word to us.

Jeremy posted an email that he sent to his pastor last week and I just read when I signed on to post on here myself.

First and most importantly, I will talk about what God has done for me, as he did. I get my hair cut here in Clarksville by the same place on a regular basis and never go anywhere else. I always knew there was a reason and it is starting to be clearer. A few weeks ago when I went for my normal cut, I waited on one of two ladies I like that cut hair. Of course there was small talk and the talk turned to church and faith in God. It was difficult talking to her because of the language barrier. Me being a good old southern boy and her being Korean, it was difficult, be managed as always. She was talking that she had been going to church and that she was finding it hard to have faith in her heart and she was waiting on a sign. I was not sure what to say to her or where to take it.

Skip forward to last week, Fri to be exact. I wanted to get a hair cut and look decent for family at home so I went in to get my hair cut again. My buddy's wife was working so I decided to wait on her. The lady from the previous week did not have a customer and sat down behind me and started reading bible aloud in Korean. After listening, not having a clue what she was reading, but feeling the pull and feeling the great feeling you do when you hear the Word, I turned and asked her what she was reading. She was in Romans. Her bible was English and Korean. She told me she could not read English cause her English is not good. She started explaining to me that she believed in her mind, but not her heart yet. She said she was still waiting on a sign. I was still at a loss of words, but started explaining the best I could that when the Holy Spirit comes inside you, you will know. We talked for a little while until it was my turn. While Jin was cutting my hair, all I could think about was "plant the seed and God will take care of the rest" (think I just found my next tattoo). I told her bye and left. I came back to the office and could not get my mind off of it. I got on the internet and started looking for something to print for her and take to her. I printed some things off, and although I was in a hurry to get on the road back home, I stopped and gave her what I printed and told her to please call or talk to me if she has questions. I pray that this has planted a seed in her that will grow and blossom.

I went home for the weekend and spent my time with Courtney and had a great time with her. I stayed as I promised my brother and went to church and see why he was asking me so much to stay. I was very glad I did. It was worth missing deer hunting on Sunday.

Now comes this weekend. I cannot afford to drive home every weekend, so I am staying home this weekend and hopefully I will find a church to touch me like The Gathering did. It was an awesome place and somewhere I cannot wait to visit again.

This week it was finally back to deer hunting again. I am headed out the next fives days and I have a really good feeling about it.

I am happy for Jeremy and that he found some one that is making him happy. People ask me when I am going to meet some one. I keep telling them I will after deer season. This time of year it is hard. Plus being in this area, men have a bad reputation, especially military. People do not understand that all people are NOT the same. There are good ones here. And I strongly feel I am one of them. Another thing that really gets me is that people that do not know some one, what they are about, are barely know they exist can tell others and have the opinion that Army guys are bad news and they are all the same. Well, a guy like in this area can say that all women here are the same and it is no more fair to them than it is to us. I was going to vent a little, but I will save it for another time.

My life is going really great. I have my friends, Jay is finally back from Afghan, and my wonderful family. I am very close to more time with my daughter and getting very excited about that.

I am with Jeremy on the whole thing about it is not what you own, but how you use what you have. I love to help others and I will never turn down some one in need or who needs help. I am that guy that will turn around and come back and see if I can help you on the side of the road, no matter what time it is. I know that bad things can happen, but if I don't try, I will regret it. Plus I know what it is like to be stuck on the side of the road needing help.

I am proud of Jeremy for the things that he is doing to help others and the sacrifices he is making.

Thank you for all the love that we are getting from all of you, even those that do not know us, thank from the bottom of our hearts. It means a lot to have people out there that support us. I could be facing another deployment next year, and that means this might get a little exciting.

I am all over the place on this one this time. Wow, I need to gather thoughts before I start writing instead of just letting it flow as I think about it.

Mom sent me an email the other day and I had a friend over and we talking about how people judge just because some one is Army. The email, "Attitude", started out talking about how some one always tries to find the positive in everything. It went on and on and I was reading it to my friend thinking mom had typed something about me, because it was describing me exactly. It wasn't, but made me think how happy and lucky I am just to be alive. I guess that means it is time to share the story on how and why I am still alive......

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Where have I been?

Hello! If you know this blog, you know me...first things first. Thank you to all of those who continue to follow out blog and show your support for my brother and I. You are GREAT!!

Ok, so I'm not sure how long I'll be able sit blab on about this before I paste an email I just wrote to one of our pastors in the church I go to. My life is truly taking a U TURN. And when i say that...I mean it's AWESOME!! I'm really lost for words on how to introduce what is next... Jesus has really REALLY been working in and through me lately. He's blessed me with a new incredible woman, I'm happy again, and the'll just have to read on. Overall I'm doing pretty great! I finally finished the re-model of my master bathroom. FINALLY. Ummm...I made some cookies the other night. Chocolate chip and no back chocolate oatmeal cookies. Ummm... I had shoulder surgery 5 1/2 weeks ago. I go back to the Doc Wend to see about starting physical therapy. YEAH! Overall it's going pretty good. My shoulder is healing pretty good.'s late and I REALLY need to get some sleep. 530am is going to come early. John, I love you bro! looking forward to seeing you this weekend!

Now....I post this next part for a couple reasons. One, to give glory to God and show others that He still works Miracles. And two, make you think, and hopefully stir your heart. None of this is for self, but all to Him. Before I put this in, two questions:
1) What is a miracle? and Do you believe they still happen?
2) What do you need?

Matthew 6: 32-33
"Your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day IF you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern"

If you don't mind, I'd like to take a few more minutes of your time...

I guess first, my faith is growing. I'm finally walking with Jesus instead of just "talking" once in a while. I've finally stopped fighting the Spirit, and I've started surrendering to Him. For years I've fought and talked myself way away from having the relationship I, as a saved man, should have with God. The past month or two, I've just given up. By that, I mean I've given up the fight against God. And oh how wonderful the last two months have been, and especially the last month. I've started reading more, I'm praying more, I'm trusting God more, and it's amazing how great things have been.

So about three weeks ago I really felt like God was telling me I needed to sell my motorcycle and give the money to someone in need. At the time I was reading The Blessed Life and it made me see how I had filled my life with material things, but true happiness was no where to be found. I'd put so much into material objects in my life and nothing into Jesus and what He wanted. I love nothing more than to give to people who need. Jesus has blessed me so much, although I truly didn't see it, and I have kept so much to myself. There were times when I wouldn't tithe because I would rather find someone who needed something and help them instead of giving at church. I love to help people. Back to the motorcycle. This object has become part of who I am. People know me by this object. In reading The Blessed Life, I felt really convicted to sell this object in order to get rid of this....kind of sin and identity...this is hard to explain...I felt like I needed to sacrafice something I enjoyed so much in order to truly see the blessings God has just waiting for me. I'm not sure this is coming out right or not..... So, for three weeks I let the devil put dought in me, I questioned if this was really Jesus wanting me to do this, or if this was me....and if I did sell it, who would I give the money to? Would I carry a check in my pocket and wait for someone to walk in my life and wait for God's nudge? It's so weird because I even feel like I know how much it's going to sell for. Bobby, I feel closer to God now than I have ever felt before in my life and it's amazing! I tried to explain this to my buddy and he thought I was crazy. Especially when I told him I thought I knew exactly how much it would sell for....this number has been in my mind for three weeks now...I don't know why, or where it came from other than I really feel like God is at work. So, I've taken the step of faith. In one of the worst times to sell a motorcycle...and I almost let the devil talk me out of this because "who wants to buy a bike now? At this time of year?" But I've put my faith in God, I've given it to Him. No matter how much it sells for, if it sells for $500 dollars or $5,000 it's all His. The bike is on Ebay and the auction ends Wend. I've prayed and prayed over it, and I've given it to Him.

So, this morning, when Gene mentioned the woman at Wal-Mart needing a roof on her house....there it was. Instantly, without question...the money from my bike is for her and her new roof.

Since we've started this Miracle series, Jesus has answered so many prayers in my life. I've been praying for a God loving woman to walk into my life. I felt like God was going to bless me with that woman in these 40 days. I think it was 7 short days later, my now girlfriend emailed me completely out of the blue. She doesn't know why, but she did. She got baptized today in her church. She's been saved for some time, but hasn't taken that step. We've had so many wonderful talks and experiences together in the last two weeks. My brother that I've been praying for a spiritual miracle for emailed me the other day and told me he was planning on staying in town for one more day just to go come to church with me next week. Later that day he got the bracelet I mailed him with the pages of my prayer journal I tore out so he could see where I've been praying for him. My aunt told me a little boy in her church has a really bad seizure condition. The little boy was having so many seizures everyday that they were going to have to buy him a special dog that would help him during thoses seizures if no one was around. On my drive to work this morning I had this strong feeling to call her and tell her to tell them not to buy the dog because I was focusing all of my prayers for that little boy. During service this morning when i came to the alter to pray during the offering time, all I could think about was that boy. In my voicemail to her I told her to tell that boy's family that I really believed Jesus was going to work a miracle in his body and they wouldn't need the dog. Later I got a message from her saying they weren't going to buy the dog afterall....the boy was doing much better. Last Monday at work I really felt like God laid this woman (a waitress) on my heart to pray for her. I didn't know why, what her needs were, or if she had a need...I just prayed for her. I've prayed for her all week....i was hoping I would see her fri at work but she was off...Saturday was like Christmas morning...the anticipation to see her and tell her that I'd been praying for her and everything was going to be ok...5pm finally came around and about 30 min later I was finally able to pull her aside. She almost starting crying and said that it's been a rough week. I gave her a hug and told her it would be ok.

It's so amazing, the work God is ready to do if we'll just listen and stop fighting against him. I truly believe that God is not only working miracles in other people's lives, but he's doing one in mine as well. All these years of filling my life with "the world"....and all along the one thing I needed has been right here.

Thanks for your time Bobby. I'll let you know Thursday morning how much I'll be giving for the woman's roof. Please pray this so that it will be used as a blessing in her life.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Surprise

I am sorry that I forgot to mention what the surprise was. I was so caught up in the deer I did not think about it.

I got another dog from the same litter as Marley and gave dad Marley. I had a long one typed out here, but the computer messed up and I lost it. I have to get back to work and will write more about it later. Some one asked about it and I thought I would share.

Also, mom told me to tell everyone how many deer I can get this year. I can get 9 total between TN, WV and Fort Campbell. I will go until the freezer is full.

SGT John Strader

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I finally got the buck I have been looking for. Here is the story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I love to tell it. I have told it so many times already!!

I got out of work at 3pm yesterday and drove as fast as I could to my assigned hunting area. I got to the area and decided I was going to try the field hunting that goes on around here. I got to a field and stripped down and changed clothes right there in the open. Once I got geared up, I noticed that some one field dressed a deer right next to where I parked. I decided that there must be deer in the area and started walking the edge of the field looking for a tree to put my stand. After 45 minutes, I could not find a tree I liked and went back to the truck frustrated and decided to move on. I ran into a guy on the side of the road and he told me he had been walking around all day and seen tracks all around the creek bed in the area. I decided I would go to the creek bed and walk in from there. I parked and geared up again and started walking. I did not realize that I had walked a quarter of a mile from my truck. I followed the creek bed and started seeing tracks and trails. I could not find a good tree. Then I finally found where the creek bed branched and two deer trails converged into one. I found me a nice tree and set up shop. I was in the tree and ready to go at about 445.

The squirrels and woodpeckers were everywhere and driving me crazy. At about 6pm to my right I heard a little rustling in the thick. I thought it was another squirrel and was not too worried about it. THEN...a big buck came walking out. It looked like I was in a hunting show. He was walking straight at me. He was about 25 feet when I saw him. I slowly got ready, pulling the trigger, pulling the hammer back so there was no click, slowly released the trigger and I was ready. He was straight on, which not a good shot. I had to hope he was turn to his left a little and follow the path. I was scoped in and ready. He made that slight turn to the right a short 15 feet from me and I was ready for the shot...God please don't let me miss...BANG!!! He jumped and ran across a firebreak in the woods. I jumped up in the stand trying to see him and lost sight of him. Then...I heard what sounded like him laying down. I reloaded and got down the tree as fast as I could.

I walked over to where I shot looking for blood and there was none. I was worried I missed, but how could I from only 15 feet. I walked across the firebreak and there he was laying the path.

He has a whole in his side, a sucking chest wound. He was blowing air out the whole in his side, but no blood which meant I did not hit a vital organ. I guessed he was die quick and I went and packed up all my gear. When I went back to him, he just looked at me like who the hell are you. I took a few steps back and decided to do the humane thing. Oh, I forgot to tell ya I let out some yells of joy when I first saw him laying there. I pulled the hammer back and was ready to go. I pulled trigger, CLICK!! I forgot to put a new primer in my muzzleloader. I put in a new primer and took a few more steps back in case he jumped up. Pulled the trigger...BANG...and then he jumped up, took 5 steps and fell over. It was over. Now came the task of dragging him down the creek bed to the truck.

I used my safety harness as a drag, which works perfectly if the deer is not so freaking big. I started dragging him, 10 feet at a time. Got him to a clearing and started the field dressing. This only being the second deer I shot, it was not easy and I was not too sure I knew what I was doing.

Got him gutted and started dragging 10 feet at a time at first, then 5, then I was worn out after 100 yards. by now it was 630 and the office to check it in closed at 8. I left him laying and took off for the truck to drop my gear and call it in. I called the office and told them where I was let them know it was going to take me a long time to get in. Little did I know that he would call other hunters in the area and let them know some one needed help. Three hunters showed up to help me and we finally got him to the truck. They were surprised and impressed with the size.

I got him to the checking station and finally got him on the scales. 173.6 pounds. Nine points. I was very excited. Right now he is hanging in the cooler and dad is on his way up here to help get him cut up and in the freezer.

This should be the first of many this year. I can still get 2 on post, 3 in WV and 3 in TN. Trust me when I say that one is not enough.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Long Exciting Weekend

Well it started with getting out of work and meeting up with Jeremy for some brotherly fun. We went to check out where I would hunt on Saturday morning and then onto main post to head to the PX for a little shopping.

We went home and got ready and headed out to Old Chicago for some dinner. I have never been there and heard it was awesome and it was. More beer than I have ever seen in one place. Wish I could remember the names of the ones that I had because they were awesome. The pizza was some of the best I ever had.

After that we headed to my hang out and introduced Jeremy to some of my friends at Rebounds. We had a great time, but got a little late for me to get up at 3am to get ready to go hunting. After about 3 hours of sleep I was up at it. I got in the tree stand was fighting to stay awake until sunrise. I managed to stay up all day and never fell asleep. I little before sunset I have about eight turkeys walk under me so I know that I was doing something right. I just wish that it had been a nice deer. Never saw one all day. Got home that night about 8 and passed out pretty fast.

The next morning I was up again at 3am and ready to go. Once again I was in the tree before sunrise and waiting on that big buck to come walking by after a night of eating. He never did. At about 1030 I gave up because I was so tired I did not know what was going on. I headed home and took a nice 4 hour nap.

That was another two days of hunting and seeing no deer. I am not giving up yet. I went again on Mon afternoon and saw nothing, but that will not deter me. I am going again tomorrow night after work. Only thing is, I need to go find a jacket to wear because the temperatures are dropping and that is good. Hopefully the rut will start soon and I will start seeing something. I am ready for that first deer and ready to buy a freezer to keep it all in this year. I just hope I do not get caught up in the deployment my unit if facing in May. I would like to be home for a couple years although I need the money to pay some bills.

This weekend I am headed home to see family. I was not going to, but I have huge surprise my family this weekend. I cannot even hint at it hear because they will figure it out too easy. Some things fell into place last night so I can really surprise them. I will head home and see them and of course see Courtney and finally get to watch her play soccer. I will be headed home on Saturday so I can hunt on Sunday morning. I am really excited about the surprise. Oh, and I am loading up the truck with the tree that fell in my yard during the ice storm in Feb for my dad. I know that he plenty of wood for the winter, but a little more will not hurt.

I hope that everyone is having a good time in their lives. I know that everything might not go the way that you want it, but keep your head high and remember that God would not put something in front of you that you cannot handle. I am a great place in my life even if I have to deal with some demons from my past.

On a good note, my neighbor, Jay is headed home. He boarded a plane today and will be home soon from Afghanistan. I am glad that we worked out the issues and differences of opinions we were having about some of his personal issues. We are good friends to each other and glad we both realized we are lucky to have good friends like each other.

Jeremy has caused me to think about my faith and realize that if he can give up something for 40 days, I should be able to do it too. I need to figure out what I am going to do.

Well, there is not much else to share right now. I just wanted to share my deer hunting with you from this weekend. When I finally get that first deer, you can bet the story and pictures will be here. Oh, and I can get up to nine deer this year between Tennessee, Fort Campbell, and West Virginia. Hopefully I get at least half of that.

To everyone that is following this blog, thank you for the support.

Almost forgot. I took a tour of the Fisher House on post the other day and I encourage you to please check into seeing what you can do to support one. You can even donate your frequent flier miles to help. They use the miles to fly family members of injured soldiers to where they are for free. I donated what little I had a few years back. I encourage you to please look into this ( Also look into organizations that help with wounded warriors. Soldiers Angels ( is another good one. I met several of the volunteers from this organization while I was in Germany and they are great people with huge hearts. Please find a way to support your military.

With the job I have, I am able to take groups on tours of post and let them learn things they had no idea about. If you are close to a military post, contact the public affairs office on post and see if you can set up a tour of post for a group. If you need help contacting one, please let me know and I will assist you. The anniversary of Pearl Harbor and Veterans Day is coming up soon. Take the time to see what you can do to help support them. I know that we have more requests for parades and events than you can imagine. And it is not just in this area. It is all over the US.

Once again, thank you for all the support you show not just my brother and me, but all the service members!!

SGT John Strader
Fort Campbell, KY

Monday, September 21, 2009

What a Weekend

The start it off I went home and got to see family and of course got my little angel Courtney. I was so happy to see her and had fun with her.

I did have some personal drama going on over the weekend, but I was able to brush it aside and still have a great weekend.

Now on the fun in sun, oh wait, make that fun in the rain.

I went to bed at an early 9pm anticipating the morning hunt Sun morning. Well, be so excited, I did not sleep at all. The alarm was set for 345am, but of course I was wide eyed at 3am, so I got up and got ready. I double checked all my gear. Paced the floor waiting to leave. Checked my gear again, paced a little more and realized I better put my phone, license, and paperwork in ziplock bags. Then I remembered toilet paper. Got all that ready and hopped in the truck and off I went. I was the only car on the road in the hunting area. I wanted to get there early and get the spot I wanted and I got it. At 506am I started for the woods. Of course the first tree I wanted in was too big for my stand so I trekked on. I found another tree pretty quick and was up in it in no time. Of course I was anticipating the sun to come up and waiting on that first deer to come walking by. And I waited...then the sun came up...but no deer. So I started on the calls and scents. Then I heard a shot in the distance. Then another and another and several more. I thought for sure that I would see one any second. Then the rain drops started. OK, a little rain never hurt anyone. Then a little more rain and more shots. Man, this sucks. Where are the deer in this area. Now comes the down pour and I am soaked to the bone. A little later the sun comes out and I am drying out. I decide it is time for a potty break. Actually, my stomach did not give me a choice. Remember how I said that I put all those things in bags, well not the toilet paper. You know that means. Soaked toilet paper is hard enough to get out of trees when your yard gets rolled, let alone usable in a situation where it is needed. Well, I managed and back up in the tree. The rain started again and I was getting frustrated. At 230 I decided it was time to go. I get to the truck and decide it is my first day hunting, and will have to wait another week to hunt again and I am not quitting early. I moved down the road and found another spot where I saw a trail, tracks and a bedding area. I thought for sure I would see something here. Well, I after about an hour and a half, I saw nothing and storm came again. This time I was done and it was only 30 minutes until the hunt was over. The creek bed I that was dry when I went in was full. By the time I was out, my boots were full of water. Full to the point that when I got home I was pouring water out of them.

That was my first day of hunting this year. I did not see one deer. All and all was well worth it. I got be outside all day and enjoy the woods. I have been waiting on this day for a long time. I am now waiting on Sat and Sun this week to do it again, rain or shine. I will get me a few deer this year one way or the other. West Virgina hunt is coming up soon too. Speaking of which, hunting when it is 80 degrees outside is a lot different than when it is 10 degrees. At 10 degrees, there are no mosquitos or other bugs to drive you crazy. I will get used to it and it will not slow me down.

I wrote this blog several times while sitting the trees yesterday and here it is. I hope that everyone had a great weekend as well.

SGT John Strader

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Life in the States

I cannot title this life after war, buy Jeremy had a great idea. I am not sure my idea of it is the same as his, but I am going to share some changes with you and hopefully he will share how it changed his life.

My life after the "war" has gotten back to somewhat normal after all the drama I had in life the first few months home. As he has said, I too have only dated one person since my return. I've has a few dates, but nothing that amounted to anything until Sonya. Well, there are things going on with that and the changes to who I am are affecting it.

Most of you know that I came home to an unfaithful wife and was soon divorced. I still live in my house alone. I recently decided it was time for some "Spring Cleaning". That meant I sold my weight bench, extra table and as much as it hurt, I sold my motorcycle and extra truck. The truck I bought new in 1998 right before I met Christina. It has about 200,000 miles on it and I still got a good price out of it. So now I have paid some debt and making life a little easier on me. I used some of the money to prepare for deer season this year. I am hoping that I can get three deer this year and put it in the freezer and save some money during the year on meat. That means I have to stop eating fast food though.

A few of the changes that have changed are how I look at life. I know that I did not see people hurt or killed, but I had to deal with the reports and send them up higher when it did happen. Each time I was thinking about the families and it was not easy at times. Especially when you see the aftermath of the vehicles they were in or read more details than you ever wanted to know.

I talked about this when it happened, but we had a land mine go off sort of close to us. That was the closest to action that I experienced. As small of a thing as that is, I jump every time there is a loud noise. It makes people laugh, but for some reason, it is something that I cannot control yet. I know it will pass and it is pretty minor compared to what others experienced.

After what I went through in the beginning of the year, I do not get all worked up when something does not go right in the dating world. I try to brush it off and move on. I have been successful up to this point and hope that I continue to be strong.

I have gained weight since I got home, and I mean a lot of weight. I am working hard now to get rid of it. I am not going and buying new clothes because I got fat again. I never realized how addicting fast food is and how big of a part in my life that it plays. I am fighting those demons each day and hope to conquer them soon.

Today I am headed back home to see my little, Courtney. I have not seen her in several weeks and I am excited to see her tomorrow. I will finally get to pick her up from school for the first time. Then it is soccer tomorrow night and a soccer game on Saturday morning. I am really excited about that too.

I am still working in the same job with public affairs, although I am not sure how much longer it will last. I found out a few days ago it is our turn in Afghan again in May. I may not have a choice if I go or not and I am torn between wanting to go and get some more debt knocked down and staying home. I can request be to be taken out of this position to make sure I go or can wait and see what my future holds.

I am pretty much like Jeremy on the boat thing. It is something that I have always wanted, but I want a fishing boat. I love to fish. I have been going as much as I can lately. I am waiting on November for when the bass are hitting really good here so I can catch some good fish.

I have everything in life that I want with the exception of a good marriage and a boat. I have a new truck, a house I can call my own, a loving family and friends, and a wonderful daughter. With what I have now, the rest can wait.

I know that I have mentioned Sonya before. As with everything in life, nothing is perfect. All is still good and will continue to be good for us. The distance between us makes a few things hard, but we are making the most of it.

I wish everyone the best of luck and I am glad to see that Jeremy got on here again. I will continue to do what I can to keep you all informed the best I can. You can bet when I get the first deer this year there will be pictures and a story to go with it!!

SGT John Strader